Two sticks

If you are a Mormon or have ever talked to Mormon missionaries you probably know about this passage in the Bible:

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Belonging to Joseph (that is, to Ephraim) and all the Israelites associated with him.’Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand.”  (Ezekiel 37:15-17)

Here is an explanation of these verses taken from a Mormon website.

The stick of Judah (the Bible) and the stick of Joseph (the Book of Mormon) will become one in the Lord’s hand.

There are three problems with this explanation.

The first is that Joseph only has one stick.  He should have three.  In addition to the Book of Mormon, Mormons believe that two other books, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, are inspired by God.

The second is that the Book of Mormon and the Bible have never been made into a single book.  In fact the eighth Mormon article of faith make a clear distinction between them.

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

Do you see the difference?  They believe the Bible is God’s word only if it is translated correctly.  If they find something in it that contradicts their beliefs they can claim that the translators made a mistake.  But they have no such reservation regarding the Book of Mormon.

The third problem with this interpretation is that it contradicts what God says in the verses immediately following this statement.  (Of course Mormons probably explain this away by saying that the translators were wrong.)

When the sticks on which you write are in your hand before their eyes, then say to them, “Thus says the LORD God: Behold, I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from all around, and bring them to their own land.And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. And one king shall be king over them all, and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms.”  (Ezekiel 37:20-22)

Three things will happen.

  1. The people of Judah and Israel will be united and once again be a single nation.
  2. They will return to their own land.
  3. One king will rule over them.

The first has been fulfilled.  The return after the Babylonian captivity included members of all twelve tribes.

So all Israel was recorded in genealogies, and these are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel. And Judah was taken into exile in Babylon because of their breach of faith. Now the first to dwell again in their possessions in their cities were Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the temple servants. And some of the people of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh lived in Jerusalem.  (1 Chronicles 9:1-3)

Judah and Benjamin were part of Judah; Ephraim and Manasseh were part of Israel.

The fulfillment of the promises that they will return to their own land and one king will rule over them still lies in the future.  They did return temporarily to their land but they rejected Jesus as their king and so were again scattered among the nations.  They once again have a land of their own, the state of Israel, and when Jesus returns they will finally acknowledge him as their king.

If you want to know more about Mormon beliefs I recommend this site:  Mormonism

Posted on March 2, 2020, in Bible study and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Two sticks.

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